Asian carmakers are reportedly in talks with the Moroccan government to set up plants with a capacity that could exceed 200,000 cars a year.

Reuters reported that Adil Bennani, the chairman of Givet, a group of importers of cars and other vehicles from outside the European Union, said the Asian makers could equal or top the plans already announced by Renault.

"Carmakers from Japan and other Asian countries are in talks with the authorities here to set up factories with capacities similar to Renault's or bigger than that," said Bennani.

He said the ongoing negotiations involved top managers from unnamed Asian car manufacturers and Moroccan government officials, but he declined to give further details.

"The negotiations were under way and they are shrouded in secrecy because of fierce competition from another North African country which seeks to lure such projects," Bennani told a news conference.

Morocco's government wants to make Morocco into a hub for the car industry and Renault has signed a deal to build a new factory that would be able to produce up to 200,000 cars a year from 2010, and eventually up to 400,000 a year.